I love my job and some yammering about writing

How are you doing, Internet? I’m obviously Not Okay, with my mom having leukemia and all, but I’m trying to do things besides worry about her anyway. I’m doing pretty well at that.

Have we talked about how much I love working for the Connected Learning Lab? Maybe we have. I’ll say a little more about it anyway. I styled myself for this type of position throughout my PhD program, in spite of having no expectation that such a position would be available. I always live a better life when I just do whatever is interesting or exciting to me and let professional opportunities arise as they may. (Woo-woo types would say this is because my Human Design type is Projector and I would not argue with them.)

My job is to read about what’s making it hard for teen librarians to support connected learning in their libraries, interview them about it, analyze a bunch of data from my reading and interviews, and work with a team to develop tools to help teen librarians with this. It is dreamy as can be. Teen librarians (and librarians who serve teens and others as well) tend to be pretty awesome, based on my encounters with them. On their best days, they want to make space for what lights teens up. (On their worst days, I would guess they probably just want to go home. Being a school or public librarian is really hard as well as being rewarding.)

I do feel a need to figure out what’s next, which is why I’m doing Jen Polk’s PhD Career Clarity program. I wouldn’t have been able to pay for this as a student, but my consulting/content development work with Quirkos paid enough that I could actually afford it. Yay!

My previous explorations with ImaginePhD have indicated that writing, publishing, and editing is a good career family given my skills and interests, and I don’t disagree. I still find myself attracted to the idea of being a freelancer, so I’m doing some thinking and planning and learning about what that would look like. The ideal situation for me would either be enough consulting to cover the bills paired with writing as a creative outlet, or some sort of dream job instead of the consulting. I don’t think I want to depend on freelance writing for my income, but I do think I want to get words out of me and in front of human people.

Blogging even on days when I don’t have A Topic in mind is a gesture toward that. So is doing Morning Pages, and the Artist’s Way more broadly. (I’m still doing that at my very glacial pace.)

I’m reading through Joanna Penn’s Author 2.0 Blueprint and the posts and books she mentions in it. I’ll probably pick Bird by Bird up soon. I thought I’d read it before, but it’s not on my list of books I’ve read. I know I have a paperback copy somewhere but I think it’s lost in a pile of stuff in the attic, so I’m going to buy the ebook for my Kobo, too.

I definitely idealize writing as an art form. I don’t know a way around that, and I’m not sure I want to. I don’t have this idea of a person who spends all their time sitting in a garret writing, because as I learned when I was doing improv, you have to go experience life if you want to make art about it. (You could make art about sitting in a garret, I suppose.) When I watched Hamilton, the thing that stood out for me that for some reason had eluded me in listening was writing as a throughline in the whole story. The lyrics “I wrote my way out” and “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” had made an impression, of course, but something about seeing it brought it out as bigger than a leitmotif. What’s bigger than a leitmotif? I don’t know. Something really big.

There was some other art that I was thinking about that has contributed to this idealization, but I don’t know what it is. Definitely the story of Donna Tartt spending so much time on her writing at Bennington College was part of it.

Anyway. I am unapologetically romantic about writing as art and craft, but very realistic about the ways in which it can be a career.

How are things going for you?

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Kimberly Hirsh, PhD @KimberlyHirsh
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I acknowledge that I live and work on unceded Lumbee, Skaruhreh/Tuscarora, and Shakori land. I give respect and reverence to those who came before me. I thank Holisticism for the text of this land acknowledgement.


We must acknowledge that much of what we know of this country today, including its culture, economic growth, and development throughout history and across time, has been made possible by the labor of enslaved Africans and their ascendants who suffered the horror of the transatlantic trafficking of their people, chattel slavery, and Jim Crow. We are indebted to their labor and their sacrifice, and we must acknowledge the tremors of that violence throughout the generations and the resulting impact that can still be felt and witnessed today. I thank Dr. Terah ‘TJ’ Stewart for the text of this labor acknowledgement.